To whom it may concern, I write regarding the September 10th. 7:00 PM Neighborhood Meeting Osprey Townhome Presentation
I would like to introduce myself for a quick second. I am a licensed CPA who now works as a Property Manager for 57 residential rental properties including single family homes, condominiums and apartments in the States of Nevada, California and Arizona. I have owned several homes in CA and UT over the past 20 years and currently reside in Provo. Traveling to the various homes I have seen well done developments and ones that are a problem.
With this email here are some of my concerns.
I am a bit confused as the Master Plan appears to show the property as Low Density Residential (“LDR”). The definition I found on this is as follows: “Low density residential zones are locations intended for housing that include a lot of open space. These zones are meant for a small number of residential homes, and exclude large industries, apartment complexes, and other large structures”. Multifamily houses such as condominiums, apartments are usually not permitted and LDR neighborhoods are typically quiet and private with little traffic, perfect for kids. This development fails in this regard as it is being pushed by a developer who wants to simply pack the units in to generate high returns. As reported in the Salt Lake Tribune Higher density means higher profits for developers and builders. They can minimize the amount they invest in development costs and fees while maximizing the units and square footage they can sell. The map I have seen on this project looks more like a High Density Residential development with packed in townhomes and not in line with the Provo General Plan.
It was reported that in Holladay, residents resisted a high density development proposed for the Cottonwood Mall indicating it would detract from the town’s village-like atmosphere. In Herriman, residents also helped derail a development which was there times more dense than neighboring neighborhoods. The closest neighborhood to this DR Townhome project I believe has 4 homes per acre while this proposed project proposes approximately 11 homes per acre.
Perhaps a mix of housing types, single family, duplexes, townhomes would be a much better option with less number of homes.
Why the rush to re-zone?:
In the current state of the economy (Covid-19) a development of this size should be set aside until a better understanding of where Provo and State of Utah are at in the next 12-18 months. What if this developer simply sits on the property for years? My concern is they begin to develop and simply quit mid process leaving vacant land with half finished-basements, lots, etc. which would be a significant liability for the City. Many builders came and left during the last crisis situation.
It has been heard that the developer lobbied hard for their project, this is understandable they wish to gain significantly but should that be at the expense of the other areas in the vicinity? Time spent and lobbying efforts should not supersede what is best for Provo and surrounding communities.
When this developer acquired the property I’m sure they were well of the current zoning. Some of us who purchased homes near this property were aware of the current zoning which impacted our purchase decision. Many are concerned about the sewer, water and losing of farmlands.
The City needs to be careful as lawsuits can be brought if the zoning policy is simply changed which negatively may impact many homeowners for the benefit of a large developer.
Safety should be a big concern for all. All of my children are adults but we are concerned for those who have small children in particular who live on 730 West where several large families live with many, many young children. Each day you can see several SunRoc Trucks speeding down Lakeview Parkway, would 730 W be any different? Having construction vehicles go down 730 West each day is a recipe for a disaster. If this project is approved I would suggest that all involved in the construction enter from Lakeview go slightly North on 500 and enter from that access street in that area there are no homes.
Townhomes close to the expanding airport would be ripe for VRBO/AirBNB investors creating short term rentals which would likely increase crime and make this a more transient neighborhood. This situation impacts the Cities hotels, restaurants, trash services, taxes, etc.
Another big concern should be traffic with about 210 new homes my guess is there will be another 420-630 cars driving onto 500 West or 730 West each day. As we know 500 West is already getting busy and in emergency situations it will be really tough to get in or out with only two exit points. Why not consider a access point at Lakeview Parkway? Perhaps where the Volleyball court is planned? An access point there might slow traffic on the Parkway currently cars and construction vehicles are speeding along the Parkway at dangerous speeds.
As other cities have experienced fires can wipe out entire areas quickly. From a KSL article in October 2018 Utah wildfires burned 485,989 acres in 2018 more than double the amount 220,000 of 2017. In August 2018 Deseret News reported that Utah fires as of August 2018 had seen the greatest loss of property in 15 years. Packed in housing can be catastrophic take California for example in 2018 there were 8,527 fires which caused more than $3.5 billion in damages. Another concern should be flooding and rising water, this year for example directly across the street on the other side of Lakeview Parkway water levels were very high.
The Development Itself/Parking:
I believe that the parking will ultimately be a problem as the guest parking is likely planned to be the minimum required. Simply look at the last Townhome project built by DR Horton in the area in Orem off Sandhill Road you will see cars lining the side streets. A big concern is that traffic and parking issues will spill into the surrounding neighborhood. The plan does not provide nearly enough open space. Further, this is different in concept from the existing nearby neighborhood a mix of housing types would be much better.
The revised map of the development has several Private Streets, are these going to be one-way streets? gated? Further, there was just recently a new map of the homes it appears the open space has decreased from 5.5 AC to 3.61 AC, the pool and clubhouse were also removed. (FYI: The Open City Hall City of Provo Website still shows the Old map)
What consideration has been given to our local schools I assume those buying will or already have children who will need to attend schools in the area. Are the schools ready for the large number of new students? Is Provo trying to build to rapidly to satisfy safety, water, sewer, education and other needs? And if the economy does falter it will be really rough. Is the City ready to handle all this? Inspections, security concerns, sewer and water, crime, etc.
Water Supply/Sewer Capacity:
Water and Sewer are other concerns as shortages of water will become a concern in the future that should not be ignored. Is the developer considering recycled water for any of the landscaped area? I have also heard of the high priority sewer issue needs dealt with and is very important. I don’t have great knowledge on this but from what I read Provo has an aging wastewater plant and has only a few years to get into compliance and Provo’s system is at capacity.. I might be wrong but this to me is a huge concern.
To sum it up here are my concerns:
Number of homes LDR
Need to evaluate the Covid-19 impact on Provo
Water Supply/Sewer Capacity
Thank you for your time.